In this concise social history of golf in the United States from the 1880s to the present, George B. Kirsch tracks the surprising growth of golf as a popular, mainstream sport, in contrast to the stereotype of golf as a pastime enjoyed only by the rich elite. While golf retains a strong association with upper-class, male-dominated, socially exclusive country clubs, it has also boasted a dedicated following among Americans from different social classes, ethnic backgrounds, races, and genders. In addition to classic heroes such as Francis Ouiment, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, and Ben Hogan, the annals of golf's early history also include African American players - John Shippen Jr., Ted Rhodes, and Charlie Sifford - as well as both white and black female players such as Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Betsy Rawls, Ann Gregory, and former tennis champ Althea Gibson.
Examining golf's recent history, Golf in America looks at the impact of television and the rivalry between Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, both of whom in 1996 were impressed by an upstart named Eldrick "Tiger" Woods. This book shows that golf in America has always reflected a democratic spirit, evolving into a sport that now rivals baseball for the honor of being "America's national pastime." The book is published by University of Illinois Press.